Somalia says it has resumed diplomatic ties with Kenya

International

Mogadishu, Somalia (AP) — Somalia says it has resumed diplomatic ties with neighboring Kenya after severing relations late last year.

A government statement on Thursday thanked Qatar for its mediation efforts. Kenya’s presidency tweeted only that President Uhuru Kenyatta had received a “special message” from Qatar’s leader delivered by the foreign minister’s special envoy for “mediation of conflict resolution.”

Somalia had accused Kenya of interfering in its affairs as the Horn of Africa nation struggled with talks on how to carry out a national election — a vote that has been delayed since early February. Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed recently caused an uproar by approving a controversial two-year term extension. That move brought extraordinary scenes of rival groups of soldiers firing on each other in the capital, Mogadishu. The president later backed off.

Somalia’s federal government had accused Kenya of meddling in politics in the country’s south, where Kenya has soldiers fighting the al-Shabab extremist group.

Somalia’s new statement said it and Kenya were resuming ties on the basis of “non-interference in each other’s affairs.”

Among other issues that have caused tensions have been Kenya’s warm relationship with Somalia’s breakaway territory of Somaliland and a dispute over waters off the countries’ coastline.

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